For ancient Greeks, one word for time wasn’t enough. Chronos and Kairos were used to convey quantitative and qualitative time. While Chronos refers to clock time, Kairos means a moment in time, or opportune time. Today we’re going to discuss ways to take in moments and grab opportunity or Kairos time.
For much of my life, I’ve been enslaved by Chronos time. I say this because I’ve often struggled with being on time. No alarm, wrist watch, or smart phone can rescue me. When we went on our trip to Salvation Mountain, I discovered one of my friends had taken a page from a playbook many of us have tried. She had her clock set 15 minutes ahead to aid in efforts to be on time. You can’t trick time, but you can temporarily try to trick your mind.
We can get distracted or caught up in Chronos time and miss Kairos time.
Find your eternity in each moment.” Henry David Thoreau
Moments in time are waiting for you, as long as you don’t waste it. I’m often reminded of Kairos time when I wonder, “How do I want to be remembered on my death bed?” Do I want to be remembered as a man who spent a majority of my life clocked in at a job? Do I want to be recognized as a man constantly distracted and never present? Or, do I want to be commemorated as a man who made a difference in this world and the lives of those closest to me?
A few days ago, my wife and I spoke at some schools in Washington, NC. Even in this fairly small town, I could tell these young men and women experienced a lot of pressure. Many of them are balancing the pressures of excelling at school and sports while maintaining the responsibilities that come with a job. Now, more than ever, we live in a world where we constantly have to prove ourselves. From report cards, to competition, to reviews…all of these are designed to measure performance. Other pressures on today’s teens include: fitting in, being sexually active, being perfect, and picking on others. These pressures can contribute to depression, anxiety, and substance abuse.
How to sit and enjoy a moment.
While pressure isn’t always a bad thing, we need to take moments and remember we are loved. Whether we look to family, a boyfriend or girlfriend, or even the Creator of the Universe, we need to feel unconditional love…that no matter how much we achieve or how much we fail, we are loved regardless.
Here are just a few ways to take in moments and grab opportunity or Kairos time.
- Sit and enjoy a meal distraction free.
- Spend time outside: hiking, jogging, or walking.
- Stop trying to catch a moment on social media–a video might catch it, but you won’t.
- Put your phone away and have a genuine conversation.
- Limit the amount of time you watch TV.
- Focus on your health more than your appearance.
- Spend more time with encouraging and positive-minded people.
- Volunteer or do something for someone else.
- Pray or meditate.
Opportune moments await us if we will only wait for them.
It’s easy to get trapped by comparison. Remember, you’re unique. No one else will ever have the same genetic make up as you…ever. Be grateful. You’ll never get a day like today again. Social media, cars, style, and money are all eventually consumed by time. But, integrity, courage, and honor are everlasting. As the ancient Greek playwright Euripides wrote,
Time does not efface what noble men leave behind, and their prowess shines forth even when they are dead.”
If, however, you need a wrist watch to organize your Chronos time to embrace Kairos time, I enjoy the story behind the Welly Merck brand. American born good guy Merck, who came from a steel artisan family, met the beautiful Welly in Italy. Welly came from a traditional Switzerland watch-making family. After overcoming many hurdles, they finally married, and together, created Welly Merck watches in tribute to their love story.
Here are some photos we took with the Welly Merck Classic Zurich watch in Death Valley.